FAQ: How To Paint A Ceiling

paint a ceiling

Promain will be providing you with a series of articles on how to paint your room like a pro! The first in this series is a guide on how to paint a ceiling. Whilst many people pay attention to the walls, the ceiling is a very important part of the room. The colour that you paint this will have a large effect over the lighting, general tone and ambience of the room.

The ceiling is usually the first place to start when considering decorating any room. Painting this first helps prevent the risk of drips or paint splatters on your freshly painted walls.

What Tools Will You Need?

The basic tools required for painting a ceiling include:

You can find many of these items, (excluding the tea), on our website here.

How To Paint A Ceiling: Preparation

The first job is to ensure that the ceiling is clean and dry. Make sure the floor is covered with a dust sheet and then wash the ceiling to remove any dust or cobwebs etc. Once the ceiling is dry, use some painters tape to mask around any lighting, cornicing or tricky areas. It is also a good idea to mask the area where the wall and ceiling meet.

Mouldy Bathrooms or Kitchens

If you are the victim of mould you will be aware just how important it is to remove growth. This is not only to make the room look good, but more importantly mould can seriously affect your health. You should ensure that you thoroughly remove all mould before you begin painting, and always wear the appropriate protective equipment.

We would recommend using either Centrecoat GS36 Fungicidal Wash Concentrate, or the Glixtone Fungi-shield Sterilising Solution (used in conjunction with Glixtone Fungi-shield – see below). Both products will not only remove the mould but will also prevent regrowth. These are both available from our web shop in 240ml bottles.

How To Paint A Ceiling: Stain Blocking Primer

Once you have removed and treated the mould, you may be left with some staining. This could be existing water stains or other marks such as tobacco stains that you will want to cover before applying any topcoat. Not only do we have a number of stain blocking primers to help you, but we also have a range of topcoats that are self priming, making the task even quicker.

Many of the products we supply are also particularly suitable for bathrooms and kitchens due to their antibacterial qualities.

Below are a few of our most popular antibacterial products, ideal for painting a shower ceiling, painting a bathroom ceiling that has mildew, or even just as a kitchen ceiling paint:

Glixtone Fungi-Shield FS42 – FS42

Glixtone Fungi-Shield
Glixtone Fungi-Shield

A water based coating offering long term protection against fungal attack, mould or mildew.

Highly suited for application in areas of high humidity and exposed to a large level or moisture, such as kitchens, or bathrooms. After 20 years of service, Fungi-Shield has never had a problem in providing long lasting protection against mould, blackspot or fungal growth and when dry the coating is easy to maintain and wash.


Zinsser Perma-White Interior

Zinsser Perma-White Interior

Perma-White Interior provides a protective and decorative coating that protects the surface from Mould and Mildew for at least 5 years, Guaranteed

Zinsser Perma-White is a self priming product that adhere to surfaces without the need for sanding. It offers users a stain and moisture resistant finish that allows for easy washing and scrubbing that won’t damage the finish. It can also be used in areas such as basements, bathrooms, laundry rooms and closets.

Bedec Multi Surface Paint & Owatrol VC175

Bedec Multi Surface Paint

MSP is a quick drying and versatile, non-yellowing water based paint, available in a wide range of colours and a choice of finishes.

It is best used for the decoration and redecoration of old and new surfaces and is available in a choice of many colours. Bedec Multi Surface Paint is ideal for providing a surface with a choice of a Matt, Soft Gloss or Satin finish. It can be used in conjunction with Owatrol VC175 Tropical Strength Mould Killer.

Zinsser Bullseye 1-2-3

Ceiling paintZinsser Bullseye 1-2-3 Mould and Mildew Paint stops the growth of mould and mildew making it ideal in kitchens, bathrooms and basements. Particularly, Bullseye 1-2-3 Mould and Mildew Paint should be used in areas of high humidity where stains and odours are regular occurrences. Mould and mildew commonly builds up in basements and bathrooms, on walls, where moisture and humidity is present in the air and Bullseye Stain Block Paint works to cover up and prevent this happening again in the future.

With your primer chosen, you should begin with a small brush and paint any of the tricky areas first, such as around the light fittings. This is known as ‘cutting in’. With that completed you can now use a roller to complete the rest of the ceiling.

How To Paint A Ceiling: Living Rooms, Hallways and Bedrooms

For general rooms such as the living room, you will not necessarily need a primer or topcoat with antibacterial properties. However, a general primer is still a good idea, particularly if you still have some staining such as nicotine, or if you are going from a dark colour to a lighter one.

Introducing Classidur Universal Primer

This primer is excellent as a nicotine sealer, sealing dried water stains, sooty, chalky or nicotine-coated surfaces prior to further decoration with conventional paints.

Being odour free and water-based allows you to apply Universal Primer onto surfaces found in an interior environment, often confined spaces, without the need for ventilation. With fast drying characteristics, Universal Primer is dry after just 4 hours, with a smooth finish, ready for a coating of your choice of finishing paint.

Classidur Universal Primer Xtrem

Classidur Universal Primer Xtrem is best used as a stain blocking primer prior to application of all types of current single-component water or solvent-based finish.

Useful as a binding primer on wood, old, but sound paint, ceramic tiles, non-ferrous metals and, following a preliminary test, on hard plastic materials and plastified or varnished substrates, prior to application of all types of current single-component water or solvent-based finish.


Ceiling paintIf you have cracked ceilings, Bedec Interior Flex may be a viable option. If you have large cracks however, we would suggest you firstly fill the crack with Rustoleum Elastofill. This jointing compound is over paintable but is also available in white and clear.

A great benefit of this product is it’s elastomeric qualities. This means that if ceiling suffers from movement, the Elastofill will stretch by an amazing 900%!


How To Paint A Ceiling: Applying The Topcoat

With the preparation and repairs all done and dried, you can now begin applying the topcoat. Starting with a small paintbrush, begin cutting in around any light fittings or cornicing etc. With the cutting in done you can now paint the remainder of the ceiling with a roller. The area that you have cut in does not need to be dry before you begin painting the rest of the ceiling, in fact it is better for this to still be wet as it will help it to blend in.

Adding Owatrol Floetrol to your water based ceiling paint will help keep a wet edge on the paint for longer. This reduces the tram lines left by the roller leaving you with a more even finish.

Tip some paint into your paint tray and load the roller – take care not to overload the roller as this will result in dripping and a lot of mess! Apply the paint in a ‘W’ or zig-zag shape across the ceiling as this will help to prevent lines.

If you have used a primer then a second coat is not necessary, but if you did not use a primer first, then wait for the ceiling to dry before applying a second coat.

How To Paint A Textured Ceiling

Many people often ask ‘How do you paint a popcorn ceiling?‘ or ‘can you paint over an Artex ceiling?

Painting a ‘popcorn’ or textured ceiling can be a little daunting. However, this is done in essentially the same way as painting a smooth ceiling. Some people prefer to use a brush as they feel they can get better coverage, whereas others may prefer a textured roller. Basically, it is down to personal preference. Whichever way you choose, be careful not to press too hard as this may cause the texture to break away.

And Finally….

Finally, remember not all ceilings need to be white! Sometimes adding some colour to the ceiling can really add to the ambience of the room. Take a look at this article from Architectural Digest for further inspiration.

Painting a ceiling

Now you have completed the ceiling take a look at our handy guide on how to paint the rest of the room here.

Should you need any further help or advice, for example on how much paint you will need, our Technical Team are here to provide both product and technical advice Monday to Friday.

Read these guides for more info:

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